Winter wellness is always something of a challenge as illnesses like coughs, colds and flu take hold. But this year we have the added worry of coronavirus. Now more than ever, staying healthy is at the top of our minds.
So, what can we do to keep fit and well during these cooler months and into the future?
The first thing is to ensure you have a healthy lifestyle. By making a few simple tweaks to your daily routine, you can give your immune system a better chance of staying strong. Your body as a whole, immune system included, works better when well-cared-for from the inside out.
Then there are also a number of external precautions you can take to limit your contact with the germs that can make you ill.
Keen to know more? Then check out our healthy living tips for winter wellness below:
First line of defence
Social distancing and following basic hygiene precautions are among the best ways to help you stay well this winter. These include washing your hands for 20 seconds, avoiding touching your mouth, nose and eyes and keeping things clean – from your home to commonly used items like keys and mobile phones.
In crowded areas, masks are becoming increasingly common as a means of protection.
Eat the rainbow
A healthy diet packed with nutrients from a variety of sources is so important for your general health. Certain foods can help boost immunity too. We’re talking foods as diverse as citrus fruits, almonds, spinach, garlic and yoghurt.
By giving your body good doses of vitamin C, antioxidants, zinc, vitamin D and beta-carotene among other things, you can ensure it has its best fighting chance this winter. Not to mention that nutritious food can be delicious!
A little extra help
While it’s best to get as much nutrition as possible from a healthy diet, if you feel that you are falling short for whatever reason, then it can be worth considering adding in some supplements. But there are so many out there that it can be difficult to know where to start.
Vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc are well-known for their immunity-enhancing benefits, but there are other options out there too. For more information or to find out which option would be best for you, ask an expert.
Keep on moving
Although it can be tempted to curl up on the couch during the winter months, it’s really important to stay active.
Not only will exercise help to keep your body fit and strong, but physical activity may actually help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. This could reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu or other illness, according to Medline. Exercise could also result in a higher number of white blood cells that fight disease.
But don’t overdo it. Too much intense exercise can actually be counterproductive. Instead, try to find balance with your workout routine.
Stress is a major factor when it comes to your health. Research has shown that stress can actually weaken your immune system particularly over an extended period of time.
Stress-busting tips suggested by some great online resources include keeping active, connecting with friends and getting good sleep. Taking some time for mindfulness and self-care can make a big difference.
Get some sleep
A decent dose of sleep ensures that your body produces enough cytokines – proteins that tackle infection and inflammation which are produced and released as you snooze. That’s why the Sleep Foundation recommends you get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep.
But sometimes, actually getting that shut-eye is way easier said than done.
Some things to try? Switch off all your devices at least an hour before you hit the hay. If you’re frequently woken by a midnight stomach gurgle, consider snacking on a melatonin-boosting banana or a sleep-inducing bowl of porridge before bed. A steaming mug of sleepy tea, packed with relaxing ingredients like chamomile, is also a great way to wind-down.